Monthly Archives: February 2016

Weird and wonderful world of Shyness

To celebrate the release of Leanne Hall’s new book, Iris and the Tiger, I’m highlighting her previous YA novels, This is Shyness and Queen of the Night.  Leanne’s books are some of my all-time favourite books and I can’t rate them highly enough.  If you haven’t read these ones already go and grab a copy now.  Also, check out my review of Leanne’s latest book, Iris and the Tiger.

Cover imageWelcome to Shyness, where the sun never rises and the darkness hides the dregs of humanity.  It’s in this strange place, in a bar called the Diabetic Hotel, that Wildgirl meets Wolfboy and they step out into a night that they’ll never forget.  Both Wildgirl and Wolfboy are hiding from a past they are desperate to forget, but as the story progresses we find out who they truly are.

This is Shyness, by the winner of the 2009 Text Prize, Leanne Hall is one of the most unique Young Adult books that I’ve read in a long time.  Leanne has created truly memorable characters that have so much depth.  You get drawn into both of their stories and can’t help but care about them.  The narrative alternates between the two characters so you see events from different perspectives and know how they feel about each other.

I also loved Leanne’s other creations, including the Kidds (dangerous children high on sugar and willing to mug anybody for a sugar fix), the Dreamers (teenagers who take drugs so that they can sleep and dream for longer), and the menacing Doctor Gregory.

The world of Shyness is terrifically weird but truly unique and once you get a taste of it, you’ll never want to leave.

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Iris and the Tiger by Leanne Hall

I’m a huge fan of Leanne Hall’s first two YA novels, This is Shyness and Queen of the Night.  They are weird and wonderful stories that have haunted me since I first read them.  When I heard that Leanne had a new novel coming out, aimed at younger readers I was very excited.  I knew she would bring the same magic to a story for younger readers as she did for teens.  Reading the blurb I got a tingle of excitement and when I started reading I knew it was going to be a very special story.  I got completely wrapped up in Iris and the Tiger and I know you will too.

9781925240795Twelve-year-old Iris has been sent to Spain on a mission: to make sure her elderly and unusual aunt, Ursula, leaves her fortune–and her sprawling estate–to Iris’s scheming parents.

But from the moment Iris arrives at Bosque de Nubes, she realises something isn’t quite right. There is an odd feeling around the house, where time moves slowly and Iris’s eyes play tricks on her. While outside, in the wild and untamed forest, a mysterious animal moves through the shadows.

Just what is Aunt Ursula hiding?

But when Iris discovers a painting named Iris and the Tiger, she sets out to uncover the animal’s real identity–putting her life in terrible danger.

I absolutely loved Iris and the Tiger!  Leanne Hall enchanted me with her tale of magic and mystery.  It is a really unique and refreshing story with plenty of excitement to keep you reading.  There is something in this book for everyone – art, magic, mystery and wonderful characters.

Iris’s mission from her parents, to get in her aunt’s will, becomes her search to discover the mysteries of her aunt and her sprawling estate.  From the moment that Iris arrives Aunt Ursula’s estate in Spain, she knows that there are strange things going on. According to her parents her aunt is near death but she looks young and full of energy.  Iris sees things in her aunt’s mansion and out in the grounds that she can’t explain.  The mansion, Bosque de Nubes, is full of surreal paintings by Iris’s Uncle James, who died many years ago.  One of these paintings is called Iris and the Tiger but Iris can’t find it anywhere in the mansion.  She sets out to uncover the mystery of the painting and find the real tiger that she is sure is lurking somewhere on the estate.

Aunt Ursula’s estate is brimming with a mysterious magic.  There are all sorts of weird and wonderful things that Iris and her friend Jordi discover while exploring her aunt’s estate.  There is a monster car, tennis-playing sunflowers, shoes with a mind of their own and a ghostly dog.

I love Leanne’s characters and there are plenty of interesting ones in this story.  Iris is my favourite because she knows there is magic out there and she goes in search of it.  She stands up for what she believes is right, especially when she knows that her parents are wrong.  Aunt Ursula is shrouded in mystery and you just know that there is something weird about the other people who live and work at Bosque de Nubes.

If I hadn’t read one of Leanne’s books before and knew that I loved them, the stunning cover would be enough to make me want to pick it up and read it.  Sandra Eterovic’s cover illustration is the perfect match for the book and really draws the reader in.  I love how each of the paintings on the cover relate to the story.

The ending of the book is so perfect and made me want to go right back to the start and read it again.  Grab a copy of Iris and the Tiger and get lost in Leanne’s magical story.




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Crenshaw Book Trailer

Katherine Applegate’s brilliant new book, Crenshaw is released in NZ this month by HarperCollins NZ.  I absolutely loved Katherine’s last book, The One and Only Ivan, and this new book is pretty special.

Check out the book trailer below and grab a copy now:

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